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NYY@BOS: Pettitte fans five in win over Red Sox

The Yankees will look for their second four-game sweep of the Blue Jays at home on Thursday afternoon.

New York has been flawless at Yankee Stadium this season against Toronto, and will send veteran Andy Pettitte to the mound to try to finish off the perfect record.

The big left-hander has shown some signs of aging this season but was back to his old self his last time on the mound against the Red Sox.

Pettitte, 41, allowed three unearned runs over 6 2/3 innings, on six hits, a walk, while striking out five.

"It was one of those nights where everything was working and you'd hope you'd be able to get through the game like I did," Pettitte said. "My curve was working, my two-seamer, I was locating that to both sides of the plate. My four-seamer also. [Chris Stewart ] called a great game."

He'll be opposed by J.A. Happ, who is making his fourth start since returning from a three-month stay on the disabled list after getting hit in the head with a batted ball.

Happ struggled in his first game, but has allowed only three earned runs over the past 12 1/3 innings, while striking out 11.

Most recently, the southpaw picked up the victory against the Rays, moving his record to 3-2 on the season.

"He's got a good fastball that he can get good hitters out with," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It's hard to find good lefties, and he's definitely one of those guys. You never know what you're going to get coming off an injury like that and all the time he was out."

Yankees: Jeter nearing return, again
The Derek Jeter watch is on yet again.

Jeter is scheduled to start his latest Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Thursday with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as the club's shortstop.

The 39-year-old is currently recovering from a Grade 1 strain of his right calf, marking his third stint on the disabled list this season.

It's possible that Jeter could return Saturday at Tampa Bay, although after having missed all but five games this season, the veteran's return will likely rely on the health of his calf.

"As I've said, we'll just go day by day and see how he responds each day," manager Joe Girardi said. "The plan, I think, is for him to play five innings in the field tomorrow."

Jeter is batting .211 with a home run and a pair of RBIs in his brief time in the big leagues this season.

• Alex Rodriguez wants to put all the media attention behind him and focus on what's important.

"I've shut everything down," Rodriguez said before Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays. "I think the best thing to do, for all of us, is to focus on the game. We're in the middle of a pennant race, so I want to put the focus back on baseball."

Blue Jays: Pillar's proving to be a quick learner
Kevin Pillar is learning quickly that there's a big difference between the Minor Leagues and the Majors.

After spending the past three years over five different levels in the Toronto farm system, Pillar was called up to test his skills at the highest level last week. He immediately found it to be a steep learning curve, starting off 0-for-17, but the Blue Jays outfielder is already aware of the differences and is making adjustments.

"I think the biggest difference is they don't forget what you did yesterday or the day before," Pillar said of Major League pitchers. "If you chase a pitch out of the zone, they're going to do it again until you prove you can lay off it. [In the Minors], they may throw a ball out of the zone and then come back with a strike the next pitch.

"These pitchers are waiting for you to make an adjustment to them before they make an adjustment to you. I feel like if I can limit the chases out of the zone and narrow the plate a little bit, I feel like I'll have an easier time hitting."

• With the Blue Jays' entire starting outfield on the disabled list, it's been the Triple-A Buffalo starters that have taken their place.

Pillar and Anthony Gose were joined by teammate Moises Sierra on Wednesday night.

Sierra was intentionally walked in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter, but may start against Pettitte on Thursday.

Worth noting
• Ichiro Suzuki reached 4,000 combined hits in the U.S. and Japanese Majors with a first-inning single vs. R.A. Dickey on Wednesday. Ichiro has 1,278 hits in Japan, and 2,722 during his 13-year big league career.

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